Mommy! I hurt my foot

Advice Goddess Blog - 'If Uncle Sam Were Your Doctor'
See how well socialized medicine works in the U.K.! I got permission to post this incredible true story of an American going through the horror that is the British National Health Service. He's Don Miller, a 31-year-old American studying for a Ph.D. in ancient history at the University of Newcastle in the northeast of England. He'd sent the e-mail about his experience to friends. One of them forwarded it to me. 
In a nutshell the 'incredible' story that Amy Aklon reproduces goes like this. A foreign student goes dirt-biking in a field near Newcastle and, surprise, surprise, ends up hurting himself. His (British) girlfriend, Verity, phones the NHS (sic) and is told that ambulances are only dispatched in life threatening situations (good news for all UK ambulance personnel/paramedics who can put their feet up for most of the time from now on).

It took Verity 45 minutes to work out how to get a car to him as he was in the middle of a field. You might think (as he is a PhD student) that the possibility of an accident (maybe even a serious life-threatening one) might have occurred to him before he decided to play around in a field on a fucking motorbike but no, apparently, it's all the fault of the terrible NHS.

 'We drove to the nearest hospital (the shittiest one in the Newcastle area of course).'Why drive to 'the shittiest hospital' and then complain about the service? One of the points this student makes is that there were no private hospitals which he could have attended but, presumably, had there been one somewhere in Newcastle he would have got his girlfriend to drive him there, rather than the nearest one? But he couldn't apply the same logic to his choice of an NHS hospital. What's this guy's PhD in, for fuck's sake?

At the hospital he sees someone taking a piss against a wall outside and then gets upset at some bloodstained Kleenex left on the floor - AIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!  In fact he get's so upset, he end's up asking Verity to 'push me outside so that I could call my mom for advice on what to do.  'He's doing a fucking PhD and he phones his 'mom' to find out what to do?!. Sheeesh!

At this point I pretty well give up. You can read the whole silly email at Advice Goddess where, thankfully, plenty of Americans with more sense than Alkon comment on the equally shitty service/conditions they have experienced in US hospitals. Naturally there are still a few who comment supporting Alkon's main thesis which is that it's all because of that nasty BRITISH SOCIALISM.  Yeah, I fucking wish!

I commented:

"Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses. The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide...etc"  (source) A nasty British NHS hospital? No. It's the famous Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the patients hadn't just fallen off their dirt bikes either had they?
I could have added:
Lakewood, Colo. (July 27, 2004) – An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of patient records that was released today.
Or this:
Uninsured and low-income Americans traditionally have had much more difficulty getting medical care than people with insurance and higher incomes. For example, uninsured people were more than three times as likely to report going without care as insured people—13.2 percent vs. 3.9 percent.
Or about a thousand others. The NHS is far from perfect but I'm not taking stick from a spoilt little student that whines like a baby when he hurts his leg and has to phone home to mommy for advice.